FORRES computer re-cycling project, ReBOOT, which this year marks 10 years in business, is rising like a phoenix from the ashes after a turbulent year which saw it threatened with closure. The project, which was the first of its kind in the North of Scotland, operates from premises on the Greshop Industrial Estate. It was originally set up by Moray Voluntary Service Organisation, as the operation hinges on a team of dedicated volunteers. The aim of the project is to significantly reduce IT waste by refurbishing used equipment, allowing it to be reused where possible. Any computer equipment that cannot be repaired is dismantled to component level and recycled in accordance with current SEPA regulations. Development worker Lee McGrath said that the project, which is a registered charity run by a board of directors, was now co-ordinated by two full-time members of staff and had experienced a change in fortunes after a tough year in which it was threatened with closure due to funding problems. Although the project, which sells high-quality, low-price refurbished computer systems to its customer's specifications, currently receives no grant funding, it is striving to be completely self-sufficient, and has just passed the 1000 mark for sales of re-cycled computers. "We sell all kinds of IT equipment, from low-priced starter computers for kids to office computers, monitors and printers," he said. "Our large array of computer spares includes motherboards, graphics cards, RAM and CPUs, all at very low prices." The project is now run by four new directors, who have business and IT backgrounds; as well as a brand new website at www.reboot-forres.co.uk Other improvements include a computerised stock control system, a new-look main office and the continuing support of a band of volunteers. He said that with different backgrounds and levels of experience, the volunteers came under various banners, from computer technicians, testers of portable appliances and IT recyclers to vehicle drivers and clerical workers, who all contributed to make the project a success. "This demonstrates that the charity has definitely been rebooted," he said. "Our environmentally friendly working procedures also make it easy for businesses to comply with the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations, and provide a much-needed IT recycling service in Moray and beyond as an essential part of the IT waste strategy and recycling of computer equipment for householders, businesses and public services." As ReBoot is a charity run by a board of directors, it relies on donations of unwanted computer equipment to carry on its day-to-day business. The charity is dependent on the assistance provided by the volunteers, with around 35 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 75, on its books, although not all of them work at the same time. Volunteers work and are trained at the facility to re-furbish and create new systems which can then be sold on at a good price to those on low incomes. Other equipment is donated to local charities or projects. "It means that people who cannot afford to walk into computer stores and spend hundreds on a new system can buy from us," said Lee. "We continue to donate to other individuals and groups, but selling computers helps us to raise much needed cash." He added that there was also a social side to working at ReBoot, and many of the volunteers had made new friends there. "They have all learned new skills while they have been here," said Lee, "as well as helping the environment." ReBOOT has recently announced that it will offer free computer recycling to any Moray households who wish to dispose of old or out-of-date equipment. The service has been extended to Highland and Aberdeenshire. As ReBOOT does not receive funding, revenue is generated through business recycling and the sale of very low-priced computer equipment and spares, either from the Greshop Industrial Estate premises or online through the website and eBay. If you want to learn more about working with computers, why not join the team of volunteers? Anyone interested should contact ReBOOT on 01309 671681 to find out more. firstname.lastname@example.org
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